RACING GAME NO EASY MATTER EVEN FOR CHAMP'S DAUGHTERS Brittany, Courtney Force Face Unique Challenges HOUSTON, Texas -- John Force, the 13-time NHRA Funny Car champion, has spared no expense in giving his youngest daughters, Brittany, 19, ...
RACING GAME NO EASY MATTER EVEN FOR CHAMP'S DAUGHTERS
Brittany, Courtney Force Face Unique Challenges
HOUSTON, Texas -- John Force, the 13-time NHRA Funny Car champion, has spared no expense in giving his youngest daughters, Brittany, 19, and Courtney, 17, all the resources necessary to follow him and their older sisters, Adria (Hight) and Ashley, into the family business.
That includes state-of-the-art equipment, top instructors, able mechanics and even a national sponsor in BrandSource.
Nevertheless, it's been no walk in the park for the Force girls, both of whom will contest the Super Comp championship at this week's 19th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts Spring Nationals at Houston Raceway Park.
For one thing, it isn't easy racing in the shadow of drag racing's biggest name and its most prolific winner. John Force is larger than life and, as a result, expectations for his daughters are exceedingly high -- and unrealistic.
Moreover, while Brittany and Courtney may have the ultimate in equipment and training, both operate at a disadvantage because they are trying to balance their racing aspirations with the education demanded by their mother, Laurie, as a condition of their participation.
Brittany is a sophomore at Santiago Canyon College in Orange, Calif.; Courtney a senior at Esperanza High School in Yorba Linda, Calif.
That means that when they fly to races like the Spring Nationals, they arrive late and usually miss one or two of the early Super Comp qualifying sessions, the sessions that are key to developing a competitive race day setup.
Furthermore, unlike most of those against whom they compete, the Force girls had no background in the sport apart from watching their father. As a result, they're having to learn the hows and whys and wherefores that come naturally to many of their opponents.
Finally, as if the natural pressures weren't enough, there's the added dimension of Driving Force, a real-life television series on A&E Network that focuses on the girls and their interaction with their father.
Although the first episode doesn't air until July, cameras have been following the girls to the mall, on dates, to dinner, to school and two sponsor meetings for the last two months. A full production crew will be shooting again this weekend at HRP.
It's living in a fishbowl, times ten.
Still, both girls have managed, in large part, to keep their composure and find ways to enjoy themselves despite the pressures.
"They might not stay in racing," Force said. "They might go another way. But, whatever they do, I want to give them the best chance to succeed. That's all I care about. I love to have them out here, but it they don't love it, they won't make it."
So far, though, the two appear committed to the sport.
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Notable: One of the stipulations imposed by Laurie Force on her three daughters is that, before embarking on a full-time racing career alongside their father, Funny Car icon John Force, each must earn a college degree.